Why Rituals Matter Part 1: My Daily Tea Ritual
It seems that as life has gotten faster and faster, we humans have managed pretty well to keep up with the speed. But I I believe Gandhi: “That there is more to life than increasing its speed.” In fact, I’d suffice to say that things get better by decreasing their speed. Slow is good.Rituals slow us down and connect us to this moment here and now.
Enter rituals. Rituals slow us down and connect us to this moment here and now. I’m not talking about big, ornate cultural or religious rituals. Instead I’m referring to simple actions that connect us to ourselves, our place, and the present moment.
These kind of rituals allow us to both forget ourselves and our worries, and to escape into the present moment. They allow us to enter flow – the state of being where we’re actually not thinking, not aware of any single thing other than the act of what we are doing.
Rituals slow us down, and get us present, both of which make life better. Why? For one life is about enjoying the experiences it offers us, right? So why rush through it all? Why blow right through the transitory experiences we’ve got?! Savor, inhale, embrace the smallest nuance that we have, because we really don’t have much else! Things happen. There are no guarantees we’ll even have the next moment. So why not make the most of the one we’ve got?
Being present is good stuff. Because if we’re present we can do more of the experiencing I mentioned above, and, also we can be more effective. If we know what we are doing, then we can choose to do what we want. If we don’t know, then we can’t choose! When we’re not present-minded (which is most of the time!) then we’re autopilot, just going with impulses in our usual, habitual, and often uproductive ways. Unconsciously. Going through life unconsciously means we’re not making choices. Compulsions toss us around like the wind. If get present just a smidgeon – then suddenly choices blossom and we have options. Options are like freedom. No options is like no freedom. Who wants no freedom?Rituals are great training grounds for achieving presence.
What are rituals? As author Tony Schwartz wrote that rituals are “…routines we give importance to.” I’d take it a bit further in saying that rituals are also ideally simple, repeatable, and allow us to get lost in their acts. Anything can be a ritual. Brushing your teeth. Taking a shower. Getting up out of bed. Chopping garlic. Making tea. The trick is to choose an important routine and to systematize it so that you do it the same way every single time – so it doesn’t require thought. Creating new rituals is like creating a new habit. And because that can be challenging so I’d suggest starting small and simple so that success is guaranteed. My friend Leo has a great course on how to create healthy new habits.
Watched water does boil. Watching water boil is awesome.….